The Right Time

by Harry on July 13, 2004

The tragic aspect of my migration to the US is this. I was born middle-aged, in a country where middle-age was considered something of an achievement. I used to look forward to the time when I’d be able to complain with my peers abut the state of today’s youth, and not be complaining about them. But then, at 22, I moved to a country in which nobody is middle-aged — even old people pretend to be young, until they are so doolally that the game is up. And I only truly settled in this country around the time that my chronological age caught up with my natural inclinations. So here I am, a genuinely middle aged in a culture that doesn’t even recognise, let alone celebrate, the phenomenon.

Here’s a show about what is now regarded as middle-age but used to be old age. I especially recommend it to Ophelia Benson, and invite private emails from anyone, including her, to explain why I particularly recommend it to her. The prize is….

the satisfaction of knowing that you are a CT cognoscentus/a. Sorry.



yabonn 07.13.04 at 6:39 pm

Gha !

Voted most treacherous fold of the year.


Ophelia Benson 07.13.04 at 6:45 pm

Because I’m the oldest person on the planet? That’s it, right? I win, I win!


Mac Thomason 07.13.04 at 6:49 pm



Ophelia Benson 07.13.04 at 6:51 pm



Matt Weiner 07.13.04 at 7:02 pm

Oh, we have to explain it to you. That’s no fun at all.


Ophelia Benson 07.13.04 at 7:12 pm

Not to mention the private email stipulation. So Harry is inviting CT readers to discuss me via private email. An odd new way of doing things.

Perhaps he’s planning a surprise party. Yes, no doubt that’s it.


harry 07.13.04 at 7:50 pm

No Ophelia, I just felt rude asking you alone to submit. Any idea (no, not because your the oldest person in the world, and no, I won’t give it away in public as it were, and will only tell you if you promise not to…)


Ophelia Benson 07.13.04 at 8:04 pm

I’ll never submit, never, never!

Oh I see, it’s some sort of quiz or riddle then. Nah, Harry, don’t tell me yet, anyway.

Is the show full of characters named Rosalind and Othello and Perdita and Leontes? That would be funny!


Anita Hendersen 07.13.04 at 8:21 pm

I asked Ophelia how old she was and she said six.

But I think she was joking.


Anita Hendersen 07.13.04 at 8:22 pm

I asked Ophelia how old she was and she said six.

But I think she was joking.


Ophelia Benson 07.13.04 at 8:34 pm

Yeah, well, and in the N&C I posted on my birthday I said I was 175 or some such. I think I was joking then, too.


harry 07.13.04 at 8:58 pm

So how old are you? I’m 41. 40 used to be considered middle-aged before people started pretending that youth lasted forever.

Anyway, the riddle has nothing to do with your age.


Chris Martin 07.13.04 at 10:51 pm

From the webpage–
“Returning sketch characters include the New Age therapist whose knowledge of his subjects leaves much to be desired – Feng Shui and Reflexology are just two of the disciplines he knows nothing about.”

Hence OB would find this very entertaining.


Ophelia Benson 07.13.04 at 10:58 pm

Well I thought of that, but it seemed too obvious for all this mystification and oaths not to tell the answer and so on, so I gave up that idea.

My new theory is that someone in the series quotes the Alexander Pope line about breaking a b_______y on a w___l. But I don’t plan to listen to the series to find out. (Not to mention the fact that that doesn’t seem all that likely, for a Radio 4 comedy serial.)


harry 07.13.04 at 11:10 pm

Nope. But if you’re very sharp the clue is on the webpage I pointed to — listening won’t help. If anyone gives it away on this page I’ll delete the comment.


Ophelia Benson 07.15.04 at 1:40 am

The scales have fallen from my eyes – thanks to a large and helpful clue which reminded me of a previous conversation here. I’ll have to listen now.

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